Today is another day. Another morning started at the park with a walk and some playground time for Audrey. I know that it hasn’t been happening long enough to become a habit yet, but I’m enjoying it so far, and just like my writing, its becoming something I feel like I don’t want to live without. Most nights I have trouble sleeping. Its not for lack of being exhausted come bed time, but it seems like I’m incapable of turning my brain off in the quiet dark hours of the night. Some nights I toss and turn, wide awake and wishing I was sleeping. Some nights I toss because I’m dreaming… weird dreams that I often don’t remember in the morning. I know that is part of the postpartum/hormone stuff I have to deal with, but I also know its got a lot to do with grief and processing. When I wake up in the morning, I barely feel rested enough to crawl out of bed and find the coffee, let alone be a good parent to my living child… I think this is why I’m enjoying walking.
As I set off on a journey around the park, Audrey has snacks and water, and I have worship music and time. I can clear my head and think about nothing. I can choose to sing loud along with the music and not care who might be listening. I can pray my way through the various verses of the songs as they come through my headphones. Sometimes I even curse my way around the circle. Its becoming a time for me to be alone with God and really hash out all of the things that seem to be keeping me awake. One of the biggest things that has come of the time I’m spending walking is that I’m realizing my God is really, really big. He’s big enough to take whatever emotions I’m throwing at him today. The last week or so has been rough. I’ve felt sad and lonely. I’ve missed my son so much I can’t even hardly breathe. And the only part that makes any kind of sense is that God is bigger than all of that. He is big enough to take my emotional punches. He is big enough to hold me while my heart weeps. He is big enough to hear me tell Him that I’m so mad, or frustrated, or angry with Him. He is big enough to hear my desperate curse words in an attempt to somehow respond to and explain all of this. He is that big and so much bigger.
This morning we got started a little earlier than normal. It was chilly and the spring air was crisp. I didn’t curse my way around the park today. I didn’t even cry. I just enjoyed God’s creation. Audrey kept pointing out that she could “see the birds singing” and it would make my heart smile. I wasn’t alone with God this morning; Audrey, and her birds, were joining me. We could all worship Him through our walk and playtime. Even the birds were calling His name “tweet tweet tweet” … You Are Amazing, God … “chirp chirp chirp” … You Care For Me, God … Something about those familiar sounds was different today. I wasn’t saturated in sadness this morning and I wasn’t angry or frustrated. I was just simply happy to be outside and be enjoying the artistry of my Creator with my darling daughter.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the 1 Peter study that my small group was doing during my pregnancy. So many times through that study I felt like the words on the pages in that letter were written directly to me. The whole pregnancy felt like so much suffering. I didn’t even think about what it was going to feel like after George Mason was born; how much more these last weeks have felt like suffering. The letter ends with a challenge to the people reading it. He was reminding these early christians that their suffering was temporary and that the inheritance at the end of all of it was so very good.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. - 1 Peter 5:6-11
There is so much to digest from that passage but the biggest thing that jumps out me is the encouragement of knowing Christ’s promises are true and that all of this broken-world ugliness is going to be made right in the end. “casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you” … What a powerful thought. I shouldn’t just give those things that cause me anxiety to God because He can fix them, but even more wonderfully, because He cares for me?!?! “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace… will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” I don’t know how long this current suffering is going to last but my goodness am I glad to know that at the end of it all, God is going to restore me. I’m going to be reunited with my son one day in heaven; in eternal glory in Christ.
Peter probably had no idea how much of a comfort his words would and could be to generations of believers throughout history but he was writing because God is worth living for. He was writing because he knew that if those early christians could just slightly better understand what was waiting for them because of the cross, they would be fired up to continue through their suffering. I know that this grief journey over my precious son isn’t going to be easy. I know there are going to be stormy days/weeks and there will be easier ones. I know that I’m not just grieving his death but also the life he should have had. I know that today isn’t as hard as yesterday but I have no promise that tomorrow won’t be even harder. I’m so incredibly thankful for the ways God is revealing his presence to me as each day reveals its challenges. The words in 1 Peter speak to me with so much comfort and encouragement. This will get better. I don’t know when, but I know my God will hold true to his promise of redemption.
I’m going to keep walking. I’m going to keep praying, worshipping, and cursing my way around the park. I’m going to keep living my life for Christ because knowing He cares for me is a pretty incredible thing. I’m going to pray that I can be the best mama to Audrey as is possible. I don’t know when the sleepless nights will end or my energy levels will pick up, but I’m going to continue to trust that God is going to sustain me day after day with exactly what I need to get through until I’m restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established in eternity.